Educational Services

Educational Services Unit (EdSU)

The Educational Services Unit (EdSU) provides services to address the educational well-being of children and youth from birth to 21. The EdSU works to ensure that youth who are dependents of the court are immediately enrolled in and attending schools, and receiving an appropriate educational program.

In addition, the EdSU oversees or collaborates with the following programs, projects, and committees:

Education Rights Project (ERP)/Youth Education Advocates (YEA) Partnering agencies

The Educational Rights Project (ERP)/YEA is a collaboration between the Juvenile Probation Department, educational consultants through Morrissey-Compton Education Center, Legal Advocates for Children and Youth, County Counsel, and the Department. The focus of ERP centers primarily on special education identification and advocacy, compliance of Assembly Bill 490/1933, and related laws specific to youth in foster care. This encompasses education pertaining to educational rights for student, parent, and caregiver, disciplinary concerns, school of origin transportation, and high school completion options (AB 167).

Educational Consultations

Educational consultations are scheduled when a referral is submitted to EDSU. Consultations include an EDSU coordinator, LACY attorney advocate, and a Morrissey-Compton education specialist. Additional participants include social worker, CASA, service providers, caregivers, probation officer, school district staff when appropriate, and occasionally high school students if they are not attending school. Consultations result in plans of action to ensure the student receives academic instruction, social/emotional support, and school placement that is appropriate to his/her needs and abilities.

Pivotal STEM Program

DFCS partners with Pivotal, who offers their high school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program. This program exposes youth to hands-on learning activities, professional development training, and mentoring. In Silicon Valley, it is common for families to give their children opportunities that allow them to explore STEM learning. Foster youth do not usually have those opportunities. The STEM program makes it possible by offering Saturday and summer STEM classes. Students meet for 9 weeks and learn all about website design, robotics, coding, gamification, and more. Many of the classes are taught by volunteer STEM professionals and generally take place at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. Students who participate earn a laptop and can participate in a paid summer internship. Eligibility: High school student in Santa Clara County, with an open dependency case at least 1 day after their 13th birthday.
Get Connected: Pivotal for Foster Youth

Pivotal Scholarship

The Pivotal Scholarship helps students to achieve their dream of higher education (vocational training, community college, and/or university). Pivotal's goal is for foster youth to earn their college degree debt-free. When foster youth graduate from college, they do not have the luxury of going home to live with their parents. They have to support themselves, and having debt makes that hard. Pivotal works closely with students to ensure that they apply for and receive the maximum financial aid they are eligible for as foster youth. The pivotal scholarship application is available online ( in January and is due March 31st. Accepted Scholars attending community college receive up to $3,000 per year, and those attending vocational training or university up to $5,000 per year. Scholars can receive scholarship funding for up to 5 years. Eligibility: High school diploma or GED; 2.0 cumulative GPA; open dependency case in Santa Clara or San Mateo County at least 1 day after their 13th birthday OR open dependency case at least 1 day after their 13th birthday and attending post-secondary school in Santa Clara County.

Pivotal High School & Post-Secondary Education & Career Coaching

Through a partnership between DFCS and Pivotal, eligible youth can receive education and career coaching. Pivotal Coaches meet with students on a regular basis, providing support with reaching education and career goals, as well as helping youth develop the skills they need to succeed in life. Pivotal High School Coaches support youth with developing a plan for completing high school and planning for their next steps. Pivotal Post-Secondary Coaches are co-located on all Santa Clara County community colleges and provide education and career support. Coaches help connect youth to resources, like tutoring and campus support programs. Coaches also help students develop their professional skills, connect to jobs and summer internships. Eligibility: Open dependency case at least 1 day after their 13th birthday, living in Santa Clara County.
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